President Trump might risk "nuclear war" with North Korea in order "to build up his popularity," a Democratic member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said he fears.
"What I fear is, he sort of got a political bump he got a political bump from the Syria air strike [and] the mother of all bombs strike in Afghanistan," Rep. David Ciciline, D-R.I., told MSNBC's Ali Velshi on Friday. "And we don't want the president to be making decisions where he just sort of thinks more bombs are the way to build up his popularity, but rather they're making decisions based on the national security interests of the United States and the long-term safety and security of the American people."
Ciciline, who as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is tasked with presenting "a sharp contrast to House Republicans' special interest-first agenda," evinced skepticism of Trump's recent foreign policy moves throughout the interview. He emphasized, for instance, that the Syria strike "didn't even do much damage" and avoided a direct endorsement of the attack. He suggested as well that the deployment of an aircraft carrier group to the region "as a show of force" is inadvisable, compared to diplomatic efforts to bring the regime to heel.
"A preemptive strike, if it were to happen, is likely to ignite a very serious conflict, a war, and maybe even a nuclear war," Ciciline said. "It would expose American troops on the [Korean] peninsula to tremendous danger ... The appropriate course is to really to reduce the rhetoric and try to de-escalate this and continue to use all the levers of diplomatic-economic power to try to achieve the right results here."